Thursday, May 03, 2007

Champions League Round Up

ManYoo's Self Destruct Performance Ensures Istanbul Encore

So much for an all-English Champions League finals.

It might be a dream to the neutrals and a dream for the United fans of a prestigious treble but all were swept away by the torrential rain in Milan last night.

It was supposed to be the weather that people from Manchester should get used to but Kaka and Co. doesn't necessarily agree.

The duo went on to torture and punish a naive Man Utd and put them under their sword.

Set out with a 3-2 lead from the first leg, Sir Alex didn't learn his lesson from his ever repetitive fellow manager, Jose Mourinho, and came to Milan thinking of perhaps, shoring up the defence, hold and see what happens.

But what happened was disastrous. It was a whitewash. No chance.

Within the first 5 minutes, Milan already found ways past the creaking United defence, breaking little sweat. They managed to race Nemanja Vidic back injury and his presence is more like a gamble than anything else.

Kaka continued to torment the shell shocked ManYoo defence till the point they self destructed and lost the grip of the game from then on. Seedorf drifted into the link-man position and nobody was there to pick him up. Carrick was nowhere to be found while Scholes is largely anonymous.

The 3 times winner of the European Cup then went on to score another, an exact carbon copy of the one Kaka scored previously. Although seemed to have lost a bit of agility and pace, the Dutchman still managed to evade a 3 defenders before placing it past van der Sar.

From then on, ManYoo threw everything they could but it just wasn't enough. The wonderful comeback over the weekends at Everton came to mind but that game alone took so much energy off the players.

They were tired and exhausted. Milan, although hailed as the 'uncle' team, had more in their reserve and progressed with some style. With Sir Alex like a rabbit caught in the headlight, he threw on Saha for O'Shea, left his right flank exposed and the inevitable happens 30 seconds later.

Of all people, Gilardino scored and that was the final nail in United's coffin. Often criticised for not living up to his reputation, Gilardino was dropped to the bench and replaced by Inzaghi up front. Maybe that spurred him up a bit.

One thing's for sure, playing at 100km/h like United are dangerous in Europe. Because they won't work. And when they're supposed to play it patient in Europe, they don't have the necessary quality and a Plan B.

Ronaldo and Scholes were made Gattuso's bitch while the rest were either abysmal or non-existent.

Maybe the Premiership race has taken it's toll and ManYoo stumbled at the last stage but the garden still looks rosy on their side. But for Fergie, it's certainly disappointing as he has only brought United to two European Cup finals in his 19 year career at ManYoo.

So it's AC Milan vs Liverpool again. I'm salivating. Are you?

UEFA Champions League Final

23rd May 2007
Athens Olympic Stadium

AC Milan (ITA) vs Liverpool (ENG)

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